Reading For Wednesday Joshua 5:13-6:21
Jericho was the first objective in Canaan. Joshua reconnoitered the city and deliberated what strategies might give Israel access to the walls with the least amount of causalities. As he lifted up his eyes, it must have been a shock to see a man standing before him with a drawn sword and ready for combat. Joshua, an accomplished swordsman, wants to ascertain his intentions. The stranger responded that he was not just a soldier fighting for either side, he was the commander of the army of the Lord. Joshua fell to the ground out of respect and honor. He was happy to receive any instructions the captain might have for him. This captain let Joshua know that like Moses at the burning bush, he was standing on holy ground, and he had to remove his sandals. Joshua immediately complies. Joshua may command the army of Israel, but he was in the presence of the true Commander.
The Lord assured Joshua that Jericho would fall into Joshua’s hands. The fall of Jericho would be an act of faith (Hebrews 11:30) and an act of God. The plan was simple. The Israelite army was to march around the walls of Jericho every day for six days while seven priests escorted the Ark in that procession. On the seventh day, the Israelite troops would repeat this march seven times around the walls and then the priests would blow the trumpets and the people would shout. Joshua passes along the instructions of the Lord and explains the role of the priests. Afterward, he told the people about the march around the city. A unit dressed in full battle array would precede the ark, and this advanced guard was followed by the priests. Apparently this odd strategy for the conquest of Jericho was accepted without question. Imagine being told we are just going for a march in silence until Joshua gave the signal.
On the seventh circuit of the seventh day the priests gave a blast from the trumpets and Joshua signaled for the shout of victory. Standing before those towering walls that as yet had shown no signs of weakening Joshua declares his faith to the people and tells them that everything in the city belonged to God and was either for worship or destruction. No captives would be taken, and all human inhabitants and animals were to be slain. The only exception to these rules was Rahab. When the trumpets blew and the people shouted, the walls of Jericho crumbled before them as the Israelite soldiers surged forward and took the city. Every living thing in the city was destroyed with the edge of the sword except for Rahab and her family.
Thing To Consider:
- What does the command to remove shoes and the receiving of worship tell you about the identity of the commander of God's army?
- How has God encouraged and spoken to you during significant challenges?
- What do you think the people thought about the plan to capture Jericho?
- What walls in your life need to come down?